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Little girl gardening and tending to a garden bed of flowers

A well-tended garden is a beautiful sight. Although plants can come in a stunning array of sizes, colors, and exotic cultivars, it's possible to start a large garden with very little cash outlay. As long as you're willing to put in the time and effort to care for the plants, you don't have to spend a lot of money to create a successful garden.

Use Seeds

Seeds are much less expensive than seedling plants, although it takes more work to start plants from seeds. You can either start seeds in special trays indoors ahead of the growing season or sow them directly into the soil once it's warm enough outside.

Visit a Seed Swap

A seed swap is a special event for gardeners at which they trade seeds. Gather up all of the seeds you don't need or want and trade them for other seeds that you do want to plant.

Try Cuttings

Cuttings are live pieces you take from living plants to grow new plants. Most perennials and shrubs are easy to propagate with cuttings. Find a plant you want, take a couple of small sticks from the plant, place them in moist perlite, and new roots will grow.

Repurpose Hardscape Materials

Hardscape materials are items in and around a garden such as trellises, arbors, and stone borders. Instead of purchasing these items new, repurpose other materials for them. You can often find usable items in the trash or at yard sales.

Use Different Gardening Supplies

Think outside the box when it comes to gardening supplies. Instead of buying expensive specific-use items, use other materials that are less expensive. Bamboo stakes are inexpensive, for instance, and they are useful for many things in the garden.

Design Your Own Garden

Having a professional design your landscape is one option, but you can probably design your own landscape if you do a little research. Learn how to build your own patio, fence, or fountain to create a space that's uniquely your own.

Amend Your Own Soil

Bags of compost or fertilizer are expensive. You can amend your own soil with materials such as grass clippings and shredded leaves. You can also make your own compost using kitchen scraps like coffee grounds and eggshells.

Get Mulch From Local Municipalities

Many local municipalities make compost from the leaves and yard waste collected from citizens. Contact your local government to see if your city makes and gives away mulch and/or compost.

Look for Free Stuff

It may be possible to find free or inexpensive gardening items through social media groups, at flea markets, and at local garage sales. Look for gardening tools, plants, or compost.

Grow Organic Plants

Gardening with all-natural methods is often less expensive because you won't have to buy fertilizer and pesticides. Minimize weeds by placing layers of cardboard over the soil, and keep bugs away by planting specific types of plants that help repel them.

Gardening Basics

Not only is gardening an enjoyable hobby, but it can be a way to get exercise and spend time with your family. If you vegetable garden, you can also grow food for your family. Kids often enjoy learning the basics of gardening, and they can be great helpers in the yard. Gardening does involve ongoing work, though, to ensure that plants have the moisture and nutrients needed to thrive.

  • How to Plant a Garden: Follow these tips for planting your first garden from seeds.
  • Plan Your Garden Layout: Your garden layout depends on the size of the garden and what you want to grow.
  • How to Choose Plants for Your Zone: It is important to choose plants that will thrive in your climate. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map helps you determine which plants will grow best in your part of the country.
  • How to Move Plants Long Distance: This resource is mainly for indoor plants, but if you ever have to move and can’t stand the idea of leaving behind your indoor plants, this resource will help you conquer the task.

Gardening Projects for the Family

Involving the whole family in gardening projects has several benefits. First, you'll be spending valuable time together as you work on your gardening projects. Second, everyone will be learning new gardening skills. If you plant vegetables, allow everyone to choose vegetables to plant, and then work together in the kitchen to use your harvested foods. You could spend time on other projects for the landscape, too, such as sundials and raised garden beds.

  • Gardening With Children: Even very young children will enjoy exploring gardening materials such as seeds and dirt.
  • Fall Seed-Saving: Gather seeds from plants in the fall and save them for the next growing season.

Pollinator Gardens

Pollinators such as honeybees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are important parts of gardening, too. Pollinators are crucial for the well-being of many types of plants. Planting a pollinator garden containing plants that attract pollinators can help all of your plants to thrive. Plants such as coneflower, dahlia, daisy, and goldenrod are useful for attracting pollinators.

Flower Garden Guide

Growing a flower garden promises to be a colorful project. Choose a wide variety of followers for a showy display. Some gardeners like to grow cutting gardens designed to be used for indoor floral arrangements. As the plants blossom, you can cut the stems and arrange them in vases indoors.

Suggested Flower Plants to Start With

  • Growing Iris: Iris is a perennial flower that likes sunlight.
  • Growing Amaryllis: If you live in a mild climate, you may be able to grow amaryllis outdoors.

Vegetable Garden Guide

Growing your own vegetables is rewarding, and the vegetables you grow are often more nutritious than those you can buy in the store. As you plant and tend a vegetable garden with your family, you can teach children how food moves from field to table. Spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine is a healthy activity for everyone. And the produce you harvest will be the freshest possible.

Suggested Vegetable Plants to Start With

  • Bush Beans: Bush beans don't need to grow on a trellis or other structure.
  • Growing Tomatoes: One tomato plant should produce between eight and ten pounds of tomatoes in a growing season.

Fruit Garden Guide

Fruit plants, shrubs, and trees are rewarding to grow as well. Before choosing which fruits you want to grow, make sure that the plants or trees will grow successfully in your geographic area. Some fruit plants and trees are only suitable for warm climates, while others need cooler weather to grow well. Make sure to space the fruit trees adequately so they have enough room to grow larger over the years. Harvesting the fruit will be one of the highlights of the growing season.

Suggested Fruits to Start With

  • Growing Apple Trees: Choose an apple tree that will grow in your geographic location.
  • Growing Raspberries: Raspberries self-sow energetically, so a small number of plants will multiply quickly.

Herb Garden Guide

Anyone who likes to cook needs an herb garden. The convenience of stepping outside to snip a few sprigs of parsley or basil for your next meal can't be beaten. Herbs are very easy to grow and maintain, and they tend to thrive quickly over the growing season. An herb garden naturally lends itself to increasing your culinary skills, too.

Suggested Herbs to Start With

  • Growing Basil: Basil needs moist soil and lots of sunlight.
  • Growing Lavender: Plant lavender in fertile soil where it will get six hours of sun each day.

about the author

Clay Cary
Senior Trends Analyst
As an e-commerce analyst at CouponFollow, Clay enjoys spending his time collaborating with brands to make helpful content for consumers and finding great deals to share on CouponFollow. As a recent college graduate, his primary focus is creating resources for consumers, especially students, to save money through online shopping and everyday life.